2019 in Review – A Transformational Year for SEMI Global Advocacy

By Mike Russo


When we entered 2019, our priorities in SEMI Global Advocacy were crystal clear: Continue to advance our public policy priorities under the 4 T’s – Trade, Tax, Talent and Technology – and move toward a global reach. We raised SEMI’s profile on the world stage in representing arguably the most strategic industry sector today as we trained our sights on a number of issues across all four pillars, not the least of which was trade. Along the way, we educated key policymakers about the impact of their decisions on the global semiconductor supply chain, member companies and regional economies.

While no one organization can resolve current global trade issues, SEMI did exert its influence effectively on behalf of its members. For example, when Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced its decision to tighten export controls with South Korea in July, SEMI immediately engaged METI and Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Economy (MOTIE) to make clear to METI the potential repercussions of its decision. In parallel, we worked to prevent a retaliatory escalation by MOTIE.

Indeed, significant trade challenges remain as tariffs and export controls continue to take their toll on our industry’s globally integrated supply chain. We have much work ahead to ensure our members’ voices continue to be heard. Our well over 100 meetings with government officials this year is only the start of sustained outreach and engagement to better serve our members’ public policy interests.

To that end, and based on member input, in 2019 SEMI Global Advocacy made it a priority to restructure to improve communications among our regions around the globe and strengthen member engagement. Each regional office responsible for government affairs is now staffed with a global advocacy liaison. In addition, we have increased staffing in the SEMI Europe office to better address the ever-changing regulatory environment and develop the European Union’s talent pipeline.

In SEMI’s advocacy headquarters in Washington, DC, we have filled a new position – Vice President of Industry Advancement and Government Programs – to place greater focus on identifying opportunities to advance programs aligned with member, industry and government interests. We have also filled two additional positions in DC  – a Vice President of Global Public Policy and Advocacy and a new Manager of Public Policy and Advocacy – dedicated to public policy work. Both are steeped in experience in trade, export controls and tax policy. In addition, our new Executive Director of the SEMI Foundation boasts expertise in developing and scaling workforce development programs.

The end of 2019 culminates the first phase of strategic personnel and program adjustments we envisioned over a year ago and the beginning of more muscular, adaptive advocacy engagement communications. Today, we are in a much stronger position to support you, our members, and meet the public policy priorities established by the SEMI Board of Directors and Board of Industry Leaders. We’re immensely thankful for your continued engagement and look forward to working to advance your interests in 2020 – SEMI’s 50th anniversary!

Mike Russo is Vice President of Industry Advancement and Government Programs at SEMI. 

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